Many factories have left Guangdong province for cheaper locations elsewhere in China or in the region.
Sensing the increasing cost pressure, the province has recently launched a program to help industries raise their automation level and reduce reliance on labor.
Dongguan, the province’s manufacturing hub, is now working closely with both the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Chinese Academy of Engineering to promote the automation initiative.
There are an estimated 6,000 Hong Kong-funded businesses in Dongguan, most of which are involved in labor-intensive operations.
These companies will also be eligible to apply for subsidies under the program, according to a Hong Kong Trade Development Council report.
Electronics, machinery, food, textiles, garment, furniture and footwear are some of the labor-intensive businesses likely to benefit.
Over the next five years, Dongguan is going to spend 200 million yuan (US$30 million) a year to promote factory automation.
At a Dongguan-Hong Kong Conference, Willy Lin, deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, asked the Dongguan city government to also provide more technical training and subsidize companies on their training expenses.
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